Takedown Preview – Interview with Christian Allen

So back at E3, a couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to get the chance to sit down with an industry veteran, Christian Allen, who’s now becoming responsible for bringing the hardcore tactical shooter back to the market, where more casual shooters have left a large subsection of the gamer audience clamouring for more depth, more realism and better tactical gameplay. Project Takedown reached its Kickstarter funding goal back in the beginning of April, and the team at Serellan is now getting stuck into the development, working to reintroduce the genre, eschewing certain elements of modern FPS design that have begun to compromise the shooter experience, in favour of a more old school approach.
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DayZ Preview – Interview With Dean ‘rocket’ Hall

DayZ, Dean “rocket” Hall’s zombie survival mod for Bohemia Interactive’s Arma II, has exploded over the face of the internet’s games community. This is not just ‘some zombie game’ to add to the pile of industry’s most ubiquitous theme – it’s what everyone, from the word go, has been asking for from a zombie game: open-world realistic survival.

Still in alpha, as its creator is eager to stress, DayZ is drawing an inordinate amount of gamers into its harsh world simply by providing a large open island filled with villages and towns, Chernarus, a selection of scavengable weapons, medical supplies and food, scattered throughout the empty buildings and 30-50 other players, who may or may not be willing to try to survive alongside each other. With 1:1 time, food, drink and blood meters along with the occasional need for realistic first aid treatment and full-on unrestricted PvP, DayZ’s vision of the zombie apocalypse is bleak and satisfyingly simple in its realism.
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Arma 3 Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

arma-3-cover-artBohemia Interactive released Arma 2 three years ago, and thanks to its expansive open world and realistic design, space for player creativity and extensive mod support, it’s still going strong if sales and the activity of the community are anything to go by; which they are. BI’s approach to to its sequel, I’m assured by Jay Crowe, Creative Director, is that of building upon that solid base, developing new innovations and features that can latch onto their powerful in-house Real Virtuality engine.

While Arma 2 excelled in its vast landscapes and incredibly realistic ballistics, it lacked a little in some of the finer details. Arma 3 has gone to lengths to fix that. NPC animations have been updated to look more natural and to take the surrounding terrain into account, the whole world is more colourful and more detailed and the inventory has been revamped (it was really needed) with a tab system that looks infinitely more usable.
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Planetside 2 Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

planetside-2-logoIt’s been a while since Sony Online Entertainment released the original Planetside – nine years to be exact. It was a great idea, and an admirable one, but it was launched way before its time. Now Planetside 2 is well on its way to release, being shown for the first time at E3.

Most notably it’s free to play – this is going to be a red flag to people, especially fans of the original; but from what we’ve been told so far the pricing structure looks promising. Cosmetic changes make up the bulk of ‘Station Cash’ purchases, along with a few limited upgrades and weapons (which can also be bought with in-game resources). Obviously, getting the right balance here is absolutely critical, and success in this area is the difference between pay-to-win games that fall by the wayside and hugely popular games like Blacklight: Retribution or Tribes: Ascend.
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Crysis 3 Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

crysis-3-cover-artCrytek was kind enough to let us get a hands-on preview of Crysis 3 today and opened by telling us that Prophet will be the main character – apparently he didn’t die in Crysis 2. Why? How? You’ll have to wait and see, we are told. On that note I was dropped into a New York cityscape invaded by the elements, sprawling with jungle plants and trees from street level to skyscraper and the CryEngine (with a bit of help from some very expensive computers we were playing on) had made it look stunning.

After having been sealed under a dome by the Cell Corporation, New York has become rather steamy and different sections of the city have been transformed into different types of jungle environment including canyons and swamps.
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Dishonored Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

dishonored-box-artToday, amidst the E3 show floor madness, I got the chance to check out a hands-on preview for Arcane Studio’s new action RPG Dishonored. First up Harvey Smith, lead designer on the now legendary Deus Ex, ran us through a demo set in a brothel, the Golden Cat, showing the variety in gameplay, first running through stealthily and unseen, then bounding in spraying weapons this way and that.

As revealed before, our supernatural assassin protagonist, out for revenge after being framed for the murder of the Empress, has a number of extraordinary abilities: a kind of force push, a short range teleport, time stopping, character possession, dark vision (see guards through walls) and the ability to summon a swarm of rats to strip victims of their flesh. Seeing these abilities being used in conjunction with each other is the real joy.
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Splinter Cell: Blacklist Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

splinter-cell-blacklist-cover-artUbisoft have apparently spent the last two years developing this game and packing in as much content as possible, we are told. At E3 they are focusing on the single player campaign and showing off the new and returned features that Sam Fisher’s newest global conspiracy has to offer.

The demo we see, described to us by lead level designer Matt West, is set on the Iran-Iraq border. Sam, disguised as an insurgent enters in an enemy camp pretending to have a wounded teammate. After a few men are efficiently capped in the head, Sam sticks a knife in the leader’s chest and interrogates the suspect. At this point we are told that this Splinter Cell is going to be all about the choices, as the player is given the option to kill or simply knock out the enemy – how these choices will affect the game, we are not told.
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Assassin’s Creed 3 Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

assassins-creed-3-cover-artHaving been suitably impressed by Ubisoft’s showing at the pressers yesterday I went in to get a better look at what Assassin’s Creed 3 had to offer and how the franchise is innovating in small, but important ways. The first thing to notice is that the graphics are looking sharp as hell – the engine upgrade has certainly had its effect. But the additions are more than skin-deep. Almost every facet of the game has been improved.
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Zath @ E3 2012 – Day 1 Review

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Nintendo’s Press Conference

This morning Nintendo rounded off the cavalcade of E3 pressers. Anticipation was high with rumours of ‘Nintendomination’ flying about. Unfortunately the whirlwind of Wii U announcements everyone was hoping for was nowhere to be seen. In its place, however, were some relatively solid titles – New Super Mario Brothers U, in HD with four player co-op and Pikmin 3, comically announced with industry legend Shigeru Miyamoto, which makes use of motion controls and supports an army of up to a hundred pikmin.
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Zath @ E3 2012 – Day 0 Review

e3-logoIt’s here. Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012, better known as E3, has kicked off in LA, and being the games industry’s yearly D-Day, the announcements have already started rolling in, even though the show floor has yet open. Zath will be giving you daily summaries of all the news of the day as well in-depth game previews and interviews over the next 3 or 4 days, and we’ll begin with a summary of the various press conferences of the day.
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